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US to ensure sustainability of Ukrainian F-16s by providing spare parts

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk November 17, 2023 2:47 PM 1 min read
Dutch Air Force F-16 fighter jets take part in a NATO exercise as part of the NATO Air Policing mission on July 4, 2023. (John Thys/AFP via Getty Images)
This audio is created with AI assistance

The U.S. Defense Department (DoD) will send Ukraine spare parts to ensure that the F-16s Ukraine will receive can be properly maintained, the DoD reported on Nov. 16, citing comments made by Pentagon officials earlier in the week.

The Netherlands, Denmark, and Norway have said they would send Ukraine F-16 jets, with some potentially arriving in the spring of 2024.

William A. LaPlante, the U.S. undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, said that the F-16 jets that Ukraine will receive are valued at almost $1 billion in total, so it is vital that they have the spare parts on hand to make sure they keep running.

It is U.S. policy to provide 90 days of spares for all military equipment delivered to Ukraine, LaPlante said.

Without spares, he said the F-16s the Ukrainians receive could potentially be grounded within just a few months.

"We're not going to let that happen," he said. "And just because other countries provide their airplanes, we have to make sure if they don't provide the spares that we find the spares and provide them."

The provision of F-16s is intended to be sustainable, LaPlante said.

In the meantime, Ukrainian pilots are being trained by Western allies to operate the fighter jets.

An F-16 training facility in Romania opened on Nov. 13.

The Netherlands will provide 12-18 F-16s for training purposes, but the jets will remain Dutch property and will only be flown in NATO territory, the Dutch Defense Ministry said.

The training of Ukrainian pilots began in Denmark this August in partnership with other nations of the "fighter jet coalition." Washington later announced that it would launch its own training sessions for Ukrainian aviators in October.

The training coalition was originally formed in July with the purpose of using resources and facilities from Ukraine's allies to help train Ukrainian pilots.

Although the pace of F-16 procurement and training has picked up, it's estimated that the first Ukrainian pilots to undergo F-16 jet fighter training will not be ready to fly them until summer 2024.

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